Polka Dot Cottage | Making stuff and telling you all about it since 2005

TWiP: Still Orange

Posted October 18th, 2014 by

This Week in Pictures

What else can I say about this week’s mosaic? Or the next two after this, for that matter? I’m spending the month of October capturing fall, so you’re going to be seeing lots of gold and orange.

I’m not complaining – I love LOVE Autumn colors. One of my favorite things is when the sky is stormy and gray, because that is one heck of a beautiful backdrop for bright orange and gold trees. We had that a few times this week.

Oh! and you know what else looks super amazing next to orangey leaves? Aqua. That picture below of the leaves in the aqua tub is hands-down my favorite of the season. I can’t stop looking at it.

Anyway I do hope that you love fall, too, because if you don’t you will be kinda bored around here for the next few weeks!

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365, plus some everyday-life images I posted on Instagram during the previous week. (FYI, my daily photo project this year has changing monthly themes. October’s them is Fall [of course!])

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…


Fall 11/31

365: Fall 11/31 – I love how a rainy day makes the fall colors even more vibrant than usual.


365: Fall 12/31 – Rain and leaves collecting in a metal tub.


Fall 13/31

365: Fall 13/31 – Autumn sky.

Instagram: Aidan was cleaning his room and found this old plastic jewel ring. It’s too bad it doesn’t go past my first knuckle because I kinda rock this look.


365: Fall 14/31 – I love the colors out the dining room window at this time of year.


365: Fall 15/31 – That one tree in the back yard just turned fiery orange overnight.


365: Fall 16/31 – Rainy morning.


365: Fall 17/31 – I think the hardest part of packing for Rhinebeck this year, is deciding which of my favorite sweaters are coming with me.

Instagram: Fall colors at home, as seen by my bottom-of-the-line Android phone. Sometimes the pictures are better than I expect…

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

Weekend Favorites

Posted October 17th, 2014 by

Hey, I’ve been wanting to thank you all individually for the nice comments on my Striped Yoke Cardigan, but I seem to have whittled away my online time doing other things this week. So I hope this group thank you will suffice!

You’ve helped me decide – there will be a pattern forthcoming. All I need to do is focus. (Did I say all I need to do? Easier said than done lately, but I’ll try!)

On Flickr

The mosaic below represents other people’s pictures that spoke to me this week. Be sure to click on the titles below the mosaic, if you want to know more about the image or the photographer behind it.

(follow me on flickr)

Weekend Favorites

1. Almost done….#stitchindye #quiltmarket #showmethemoda, 2. There is an inherent optimism found in green leaves and blue skies, don’t you think?, 3. _MG_0085, 4. Caminando por la calle, 5. finished, 6. penny pouch, 7. Autumn, welcome ♥, 8. Topkapi Palace In Istanbul, Turkey, 9. Yellow ladder, 10. DSC_0118, 11. 2 october, 12. friday stash play, 13. Monster #2 Custom Dunny, 14. tea + crochet, 15. Little Hearts, 16. Colgante caleidoscopio-ikat, 17. Little bear, you match my hydrangea. How cute of you., 18. It’s very close, 19. No matter how great the adventure…loving being home makes it all the sweeter for me. (Did you catch the spelling oopsie first read?) #artjournal, 20. Moon Rocks Beads – Polymer Clay Purses – PolyPediaOnline Iris Mishly Tutorial, 21. Some more #succulentlove because i can’t resist! #succulentjunkie #succulents #parys #southafrica #soupatravel, 22. common buckeye, 23. Handspun Yarn, 24. SAM_0857, 25. Making It’s Epic Migration, 26. VW’s in Schagen, 27. View from the Musee d’Orsay (V2), 28. Boreas Pass Aspen Stand

Around the Web

I spend some time earlier in the week sharing my favorite crafty links through social media. And then I repeat them here on Fridays.

  • cinnamon :: from sheep to skein – yarny stuff from SouleMama. Ever wonder how much yarn you can get out of one sheep? Amanda Soule shares the yield of her Cinnamon and shows what it looks like as roving and then spun into a heavy worsted twist.
  • Learn to Design Fabric! – a roundup from Spoonflower Blog. I’ve dabbled a tiny bit with fabric design, although at this point it has been mostly a matter of manipulating my photos. I’d love to design a few prints that are more *graphic* than *photographic*. Spoonflower shares these links to a handful of tutorials for budding designers.
  • Point and Shoot Love – by Jenny the Time Traveling Pirate, via Mortal Muses. I love what Jenny has to say about using point-and-shoot cameras. I, too, cut my teeth on a p+s for several years before I could justify the cost of a DSLR to myself, and I feel that the challenges the p+s posed really helped to stretch my skills.
  • Birch Forest Coat Rack – a cool DIY from A Piece of Rainbow. I love this coat rack! It’s meant to look like a birch forest, and it is perfect for fall.
  • Why It’s Good to Have a Pile of WIPs – by Cheryl Arkison, via Sew Mama Sew. I try to keep myself to a very small handful of works in progress, because I know the longer I go without working on a particular project, the less likely it will ever get finished. Cheryl has a different perspective.

Have a happy Friday!

Rhinebeck Road Trip Tunes

Posted October 16th, 2014 by

Rhinebeck Weekend, at Polka Dot Cottage
The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival (also known as Rhinebeck) is this weekend, and for the third year in a row, we have a free weekend and can go. Yay! Aidan has gone with me the last two times, and although you might think that there isn’t much there to keep a teenager occupied, he’s happy just to have me all to himself. And I’m happy to have him with me, too. It’s a nice getaway that we look forward to every year.

Now, it also happens that I love to make Fall mix CDs, and during our previous two trips, we had hot-off-the-presses playlists to listen to on the drive up there. In 2012, we had Put on a Sweater.

And in 2013, I made Pumpkin Spice.

You can listen to both of them below.

Put on a Sweater from lclarke522 on 8tracks Radio.

Pumpkin Spice from lclarke522 on 8tracks Radio.

Both of the above playlists are on heavy rotation in my car right now, and I probably would have been happy just to listen to all of my favorite Fall songs on “shuffle” for this year’s trip, but Aidan had another idea.

He raided my music collection and picked 22 songs that we’ve listened to together and that he enjoys. He showed me the list, and while I liked a lot of what he chose, I thought he dipped a little too heavily into the oldies section. The mix kinda looked like I was stuck in the 70’s. So, together, we took a second look at his list and replaced a few of the older tracks with some newer tunes we both like.

The result is this playlist, which Aidan named “Will Trade Teenager for Yarn,” after the button I bought at the festival last year.

While I do carry that button around with me on my project bag, I really don’t think I’ll be trading my teenager for yarn any time soon.

Not unless it’s a really really good deal ;-)

Will trade teenager for yarn from lclarke522 on 8tracks Radio.

I hope you’ll listen to one (or three) of our playlists. I am partial to my two Fall mixes, but I think we’re going to have fun with Aidan’s new playlist this weekend, too. We haven’t listened to it yet – we’re saving that for when we hit the road tomorrow night!

By the way, if you are road tripping anywhere (Rhinebeck maybe, too?) and want to take one of these playlists with you, 8tracks has mobile apps. If you follow me on 8tracks, all of my playlists will be just a tap away on your mobile device.

Happy listening!

Black and White

Posted October 16th, 2014 by

B+W 1/5
B+W 2/5
B+W 3/5
B+W 4/5
B+W 5/5

Earlier this week a Facebook friend invited me to join a 5-day black and white photography challenge. Black and white is, indeed, a challenge for me because I am so in love with color!

I took her up on it, though, because I have been considering doing a month of b+w for November, despite it being outside of my comfort zone. I thought this would be a good trial run.

The verdict? I am happy with most of my photos, and I have to say I enjoyed looking for subjects where color took a back seat to texture, lines, and composition. I am always on the lookout for good composition, but with color photography I find that I don’t think as much about texture or other elements that provide visual interest. I usually let the colors lead me, and the rest is often a happy accident. Or, if I want to give myself a little credit, I could call it intuition.

By the way, you may have noticed that a few of the images are not truly black and white. They are monochrome, but they have a slightly warmer tone than true black and white. This was not intentional in the first two photos, and in fact, I didn’t even notice my mistake until I went to process the third image. I have to say, though, I kind of like it. I liked it enough to dial a bit of warmth back in to image 4, albeit with a lighter hand.

If you’re a photo-processing nerd (like me) and would like to know how I managed to accidentally get a warmer black and white look, I used the Black + White section of the Basic panel in Lightroom’s Develop module, and tweaked all of the settings to get a monochromatic image I liked. I had forgotten, though, that by default I have LR set up to add a small bit of yellow to the highlights in the Split Tone panel. Oops!

One thing about black and white photography: I feel like I should take pictures of old things. Because b+w has such a vintage vibe to me, I’m drawn to capturing images of things that are either truly old, or have an antique vibe to them. I’m rather surprised with myself that I didn’t photograph my old typewriter. Guess I can save that for November…

What do you think about black and white photography? Do you find yourself drawn to it, or is it all about color for you?

Striped Yoke Cardigan

Posted October 12th, 2014 by

Striped Yoke Cardigan

Striped Yoke Cardigan

Striped Yoke Cardigan

Striped Yoke Cardigan

Striped Yoke Cardigan

Striped Yoke Cardigan

I’ve been designing sweaters again.

I started this back in June, and I took my time working on it throughout the summer.

It’s based on the Everyday Cardigan in shape and basic construction, but the yoke is done in stockinette stripes rather than ribbing; the collar, cuffs, and hem are worked in a contrasting color; and the button bands are added last.

So, what do you think? Is this something you would knit if there were a pattern available? Because I would definitely consider writing one up if there’s interest!

I can imagine it with more subtle color differences like light brown stripes on beige. Or maybe in three colors, where the sweater is tan, for instance, the stripes are red, and all of the remaining trim (collar, cuffs, hem, button bands) is blue.

If I wasn’t so bored Bored BORED with stockinette stitch right now, I’d probably knit a couple of samples. But no. Time for this girl to do something more challenging for a while: like cables!

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